2010 FIFA World Cup Demo Impressions

Posted April 10th, 2010 at 9:14 am

With the demo for 2010 FIFA World Cup now available I spent some time with it and thought it would be worth posting some quick impressions. I’d also like to hear your feelings on it in the comments! The demo offers Italy vs Spain with two minute halves.

Getting only two minutes makes it impossible to get into much of a flow, especially with no re-start option. You’re forced to go back to the main menu to fire up another match meaning additional time spent loading and getting through the opening presentation. The demo does offer up a nice array of options including the ability to change difficulty level, game speed, and camera angles. Highlights apparently can be uploaded to EA Football World, however I guess that has to be done during the action because no option was available after the match was completed.

There is something about the World Cup games that captures my attention more than the yearly FIFA offerings. I think it could be some mix of the atmosphere, global importance, and awareness of it being one of the few events that grabs the attention of those who don’t generally watch soccer. For me, there has been somewhat of a shift given the emergence of the MLS and its stunning popularity in Seattle. That has not just led to greater knowledge of the sport but also higher interest in events such as the World Cup.

What I found from the demo was exactly what I had hoped for. The game is flat out fun, and completely accessible for anyone who may not know a lot about the sport or play soccer games on a regular basis. The addition of the two button control scheme, while those experienced with the game won’t need it, I have a feeling will be a big success. It will make things much simpler for people who can then turn their concentration to other aspects of gameplay.

The action seems to be a bit faster, a little more hectic, but that could be the settings and rushed nature of playing through a two minute demo. I enjoyed the faster pace though. Even if it may not be as realistic, there is something to be said about avoiding frustration from the gamer’s perspective. One thing that used to bother me would be working into position, losing control of the ball or missing a shot, and that feeling like a complete failure. In World Cup it almost feels like you don’t have time to dwell on those things and instead continue to work towards progress.

The atmosphere is excellent, with the crowd scenes, noise, and authentic music adding a lot to the experience. One problem I did notice is that the framerate is not clean in the scripted scenes such as during the pre-match festivities. That can be a little unnerving as the scenes lose a sense of realism as a result.